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  1. #1
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    If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    Thomas on the Draft: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/20/2008

    Sixth in a series of NFL Draft notebooks by Jim Thomas, exclusively on STLtoday.com. Today’s topic: defensive linemen.

    One option for the Rams, if they trade down from the No. 2 overall spot, is Southern California defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis. By all accounts, Ellis was a man among boys at the Senior Bowl in January, giving blockers fits.

    "I think that definitely helped me a lot," Ellis said. "Just going out there and competing told a lot of teams a lot about me."

    Even though this appears to be a deep draft on the defensive line — both at tackle and end — Ellis’ decision to stay for his senior year in college appears to have been a good one.

    "A lot of players in my position would have left a year ago," Ellis said. "But I chose to stay at school and finish my classes and get my degree from USC. And also at the same time be a great football player."

    Ellis is scheduled to graduate next month with a sociology degree.

    Last season at USC, Ellis registered career highs in tackles (58), sacks (8∏), and tackles for loss (12∏). He was voted the Pacific-10 Conference’s defensive player of the year for a Trojans’ defense that ranked second nationally in total defense and fourth against the run.

    "I just tried to be as good as I could be," Ellis said. "I never thought it would get to this point. I hoped I could be this or be that, but realistically, you never know what’s going to happen in the game."

    Ellis is a sure top 10 pick, and should be the second DT taken in the draft after Louisiana State’s Glenn Dorsey.

    "I think there are three of us (defensive tackles) in the top 15, or something like that," Ellis said. "Teams need tackles, and (defensive) tackles aren’t something you can make from a different position. We’re kind of born. Not everybody has the body type."

    The Rams had planned to bring Ellis in for a pre-draft visit. But since Southern Cal’s pro day took place recently (April 2), the Rams felt they had a good enough feel for Ellis. Rams personnel spent extra time with Ellis at the pro day.

    GRAPPLING WITH LAWS

    Ellis didn’t make it to Rams Park, but Notre Dame’s Trevor Laws did, paying a pre-draft visit last Tuesday and Wednesday. With the Irish, Laws played end in a 3-4 scheme last season. The previous two seasons, he was a starting defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment.

    At 6-1, 304 pounds, Laws projects as a DT in the NFL, more specifically at the "3-technique" position, which emphasizes shooting gaps and penetrating into the backfield. If the Rams don’t take LSU’s Dorsey at No. 1 overall, Laws could be a nice option early in the third round as La’Roi Glover’s eventual successor.

    Regarded as a high-motor performer, with good quickness and lateral
    agility, Laws recorded 112 tackles with four sacks last season.

    Heavily recruited as a wrestler out of Apple Valley (Minn.) High School, Laws had a 142-5 record at super-heavyweight and won a state title as a junior.

    Does his wrestling background help on the defensive line?

    "Immensely," Laws said. "So many different things with hands, leverage, bounce, just hips. Any wrestling helps in making a football play, especially interior line."

    At the Senior Bowl, Laws said he showed Detroit Lions president Matt Millen some of his wrestling moves.

    GROWING INTO THE JOB

    Defensive end Derrick Harvey played at under 260 pounds for the Florida Gators last season. But he weighed in at 271 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine.

    "I just grew," Harvey said. "I just turned 21 (on Nov. 9) and put on a few extra pounds."

    But he still ran a 4.84 in the 40, and with his 6-5 frame, could add even more bulk. He had 8∏ sacks for the Gators last season, and according to NFLdraftscout.com, opponents had minus 28 yards rushing in 47 plays run in his direction. He could work his way into the top 10 on draft day.

    Harvey has an 82-inch wingspan, the better to hold off blockers.

    "It kind of helps keep their hands off you," Harvey said. "You can lock them out. They can’t touch your body with those long arms."

    But that makes it difficult to buy shirts off the rack, doesn’t it?

    "I just wear a lot of short sleeves," Harvey said.

    ‘TWEENER CITY

    Michigan’s Shawn Crable had a split personality at the NFL Scouting Combine.

    "I thought I’d be doing linebacker drills when I got here, but I’ve got to go with the stuff they give me," Crable told reporters at the Combine.He pointed to his Combine T-shirt, which read: DL 10, as in defensive lineman No. 10."I’ve got two different T-shirts," Crable said. "One read ‘Linebacker,’ and the other read ‘Defensive End.’ I think it’s going to be a good challenge."

    Crable was predominantly a strongside linebacker in college. But at nearly 6-5, and at a somewhat lanky 245 pounds, he could grow into an NFL defensive end. He already has shown a knack for getting to the quarterback as an edge rusher, and has the speed to run people down from the backside. Last season, he finished second in the nation with 28∏ tackles for loss, and also registered 7∏ sacks.

    "I’ve talked to a lot of teams, and sometimes they’ll say: ‘You make a better defensive end,’ " Crable said. "And then I’ll walk out of that (interview) room and into another room, and they’ll be like; ‘No, you’re not a defensive end, you’re a linebacker.’ You never really know."

    He’ll find out soon enough.

    LAW BOOKS ON HOLD

    Texas defensive tackle Frank Okam earned his degree in sports management in December. And he plans to go to law school once his football days are over. But with the NFL beckoning, he’s in no hurry."Probably after at least 10-12 years in the league, I’ll go back and do some law school stuff," Okam said.As for that undergraduate degree. . . ."It was something my mom always tried to instill in me _ the value of education," Okam said. "So being able to leave in 3∏ years with a degree is pretty good."

    Okam’s mother is an elementary school teacher; Okam couldn’t do anything sports-wise growing up until his homework was finished.

    A wide body at 6-5, 347 pounds, Okam’s forte is run defense, but he also registered five sacks last season for the Longhorns. He’s projected as a fourth_ or fifth-rounder. Inconsistent play probably will prevent him from going higher.

    D-LINE PIPELINE

    North Carolina State hasn’t exactly been a football power lately, but the Wolfpack has been putting one defensive lineman after another into the NFL. Defensive tackle DeMario Pressley looks like the next in line behind Mario Williams, John McCargo, and Tank Tyler, among others.

    "I think I took something small from each of those guys," Pressley said. "From Tank, I took note of his power. From Johnny Mac, it was his quickness, and from Mario his speed and his technique. His technique as a defensive lineman was insane."

    But any chance Pressley had of working his way into the first day of the draft were wrecked by an injury-plagued 2007. Although he managed to play 10 games, Pressley was slowed by toe, elbow, knee, and ankle injuries.

    LAST YEAR’S TOP 5

    Player/Pos.: Gaines Adams/DE
    College: Clemson
    NFL Team: Tampa Bay
    Rd. (Overall): 1 (4)
    So-so rookie year with eight starts, 55 tackles, and six sacks.

    Player/Pos.: Jamaal Anderson/DE
    College: Arkansas
    NFL Team: Atlanta
    Rd. (Overall): 1 (8)
    Started all 16 games at LE, but didn’t have a sack all season.

    Player/Pos.: Amobi Okoye/DT
    College: Louisville
    NFL Team: Houston
    Rd. (Overall): 1 (10)
    Started 14 games, finished second on team with 5∏ sacks.

    Player/Pos.: Adam Carriker/DL
    College: Nebraska
    NFL Team: St. Louis
    Rd. (Overall): 1 (13)
    Solid rookie year playing mainly inside; started all 16 games.

    Player/Pos.: Justin Harrell/DT
    College: Tennessee
    NFL Team: Green Bay
    Rd. (Overall): 1 (16)
    Played in only 7 games, with 2 starts; finished with 24 tackles.

    LOCAL LINE

    Player/Pos.: Lorenzo Williams/DT
    College: Missouri
    Ht./Wt.: 6-1/295
    All-Big 12 performer could be late-round pick or rookie free agent.

    DRAFT POTPOURRI/DL

    — As a high school junior, Auburn DT Pat Sims helped Dillard High in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., win a state championship in basketball.

    "Don’t let the size fool you," said Sims, who’s now 6-2, 310 pounds. "I can shoot it, I can handle, whatever you want me to do."

    Crossover dribble? "Get on the court with me and see," he said.

    — UNLV defensive end Jeremy Geathers is the cousin of current Cincinnati Bengals DE Robert Geathers; the nephew of former Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Robert Geathers Sr.; and the son of former NFL defensive lineman Jumpy Geathers, who played 13 seasons with New England, Washington, Atlanta and Denver.

    — The father of Iowa DE Bryan Mattison is Greg Mattison, the new defensive line coach of the Baltimore Ravens.

    — Miami (Fla.) DE Calais Campbell set a Colorado high school record with 58 career sacks at South High in Denver


  2. #2
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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    At 6-1, 304 pounds, Laws projects as a DT in the NFL, more specifically at the "3-technique" position, which emphasizes shooting gaps and penetrating into the backfield. If the Rams don’t take LSU’s Dorsey at No. 1 overall, Laws could be a nice option early in the third round as La’Roi Glover’s eventual successor.
    I love the idea of spending a later-round pick on a replacement for Glover, someone who will work behind starting UT Carriker in the line-up. But good luck finding Laws in the third round; I've heard talk of him maybe even breaking into the late first because of his production, versatility, and work ethic.
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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    Sound good to me. If we can improve the defensive line it will help Spoon and our secondary out tremedously.

    Go Rams

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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    Nick, what's your take on Crable in terms of when he'd go and his potential as a Leonard Little kind of player?

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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    Nick, what's your take on Crable in terms of when he'd go and his potential as a Leonard Little kind of player?
    He might be able to make the transition to 4-3 DE if he bulked up a bit and improved his lower body strength. At 6'5" and only 245 pounds, he's pretty lanky. I read some write-ups from the Senior Bowl practices that said he was pretty easily blocked out of the play, so you have to wonder if he can consistently hold his ground against linemen as an end at the next level without making some changes. He might be a good fit in the 4-3 as a linebacker, kind of in the Raonall Smith mold perhaps where he can rush the passer. I think he'll probably go somewhere in the third or fourth round, as a 3-4 team will like what he can bring to the table in terms of rushing the edge.
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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I think he'll probably go somewhere in the third or fourth round, as a 3-4 team will like what he can bring to the table in terms of rushing the edge.
    I agree. Look for a team like the Patriots to snatch him up. He might be the best 3-4 rusher in the 'second teir' of OLBs.

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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    .
    I think the Rams would like to trade back - but that's easier said than done.

    They'd have to trade, get their picks, and get the man they want, the latter being the most important.

    That's part of the reason why the Rams love every player - because they'd like to sell those players and sell that spot, if they decide to go that way.

    I still think New England may be a team that would like to move up. As a bonus, they'd get to hop their rivals, the Jets.

    If they want Ellis, the Patriots (#7 slot) is probably the last chance to get him.

    Cincy will take him at 9 - and some doubt the Ravens will want to move out of their number 8 spot.

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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    in the thread about trading with the Saints i said i would love to pick Ellis if the Rams traded back to #10
    but like Tony i find it hard to believe he gets past Cincy, because they are desperate for a DT

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    Re: If Rams trade No. 2, USC's Ellis possibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Soprano View Post
    .
    I think the Rams would like to trade back - but that's easier said than done.

    They'd have to trade, get their picks, and get the man they want, the latter being the most important.

    That's part of the reason why the Rams love every player - because they'd like to sell those players and sell that spot, if they decide to go that way.

    I still think New England may be a team that would like to move up. As a bonus, they'd get to hop their rivals, the Jets.

    If they want Ellis, the Patriots (#7 slot) is probably the last chance to get him.

    Cincy will take him at 9 - and some doubt the Ravens will want to move out of their number 8 spot.
    I agree Tony I think the Rams would love to drop down the board and pick up some picks.

    I'm not sure the other teams feel the elite 4 are worth the move.

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